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Board approves option on FD middle schools

Phillips, Fair Oaks would be developed into apartments

June 11, 2013

Fair Oaks and Phillips middle schools are on their way to becoming housing. The Fort Dodge Community School District board Monday approved an option to Foutch Brothers LLC of Kansas City, Mo....

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Jun-13-13 11:47 AM

These real estate transactions seem like rushed deals without research or notification to the public. Will the Foutch Brother's be eligible to apply for some sort of tax abatement later that the local taxpayers will need to cover? Van Zyl and the board members seem carefree when dealing with other peoples money. Would Van Zyl have been willing to sell his own home here for a dollar had he gotten the job in Cedar Falls?

Out of town investors are just going to take the local money and move it to their own communities that are built on a solid foundation of real growth and not on sand. In realty, we end up prospering these other communities for the the sake of trying to look pretty.

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Jun-12-13 9:57 PM

When it comes to these fantastic bargins ($1.00 per building) it reminds me of the former IBP plant that Iowa Beef sold for little of nothing to get out from under it. Guess who ended up paying a half million to tear it down, the city taxpayers. Who do you think will pay to tear down the Warden when there is no money to be made out of it? Answer, the city taxpayers. These companies and schools should not be able to walk away from ownership responsibilty and down the road the taxpayers have to remove these buildings. I can't believe people keep letting this happen.These people plan on making big money off these properties but only if taxpayers put up most of the financing for nothing. Sounds like another sweet deal for the back room boys.

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Jun-12-13 7:20 PM

While I can understand the wondering about a competitive bid, I choose to focus on the additional tax revenue that will be generated through this property being put back on the property tax rolls. That will generate much needed revenue for the city and schools.

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Jun-12-13 7:00 PM

Hboc, why are you trying to pull the race card? I have seen and know White "low income" people. "Low income" knows no color.

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Jun-12-13 6:04 PM

If St. Edmonds ends up getting the gym and track they will have to put a brand new mechanical and plumbing system in. All of the current services to the gym are feed from the school. This will cost them a few dollars.

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Jun-12-13 4:25 PM

Old properties that are restored are the most attractive to people in most cities these days as the love of cheap, ugly homes in a suburban environment is becoming a thing of the past. New is great but, put the new around what's left of the old. I'm still steaming mad that they let the railroad tear down that beautiful old depot. That would have made a terrific farmer's market venue. I guess the one thing I don't get about this deal is if the market is strong enough to expect those kind of rents, why wasn't it strong enough to provide a competitive bid for the property instead of $1? I'm sure it will look nice and I hope it's a hit but, I think that's a little out of the price range for most apartment dwellers in FD.

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Jun-12-13 12:15 PM

I took a look at Foutch's website. Very nice work. A community I lived in many years ago had a company do something similar to an empty warehouse just north of the downtown area. They did nice work and brought additional value to the area. I hope this occurs in FD through this.

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Jun-12-13 10:59 AM

Bububud, I agree with you that a revitalized vibrant downtown is needed, and I also like the concept of combining the old with the new. Downtown Denver, the LoDo district, was blighted back in the 80s, but had been refurbished and is now a bustling residential and entertainment district. This was accomplished mainly by converting the old office and warehouse buildings into attractive condos, apartments, and commercial buildings. The former schools can be brought into 21st century modern functional buildings while maintaining their classical architectural beauty. Just check out Foutch Brothers website to see examples of what can be accomplished.

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Jun-12-13 10:35 AM

Jessica...More is needed downtown than just low income housing! Fort Dodge needs a plan blending the old with new and it's time that much of the old is replaced. The "crosstown connector" project, delayed now for 4 more years, would have been a nice start, and let me emphasize "start." Downtown could be THE place to be as it was 60 years ago but it's going to take more than low income housing to bring it back. Citizens need to decide if blight is acceptable or a move to a 21st century city we can be proud to show off to visitors and potential new business...I choose the new century look!

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Jun-12-13 1:32 AM

bububud, what about the First National Bank/State Bank building downtown next to the courthouse? They turned that into beautiful apartments. I only wish there wasn't an age limit on them, so I could move there.

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Jun-11-13 10:51 PM

Sometimes you have to say goodbye to the old...those once "majestic" buildings downtown, including Phillips and Fair Oaks, have become nothing more than urban blight. Old Sears and the once "majestic" Warden are crumbling and have stood empty for decades with boarded up or broken windows. Only urban renewal downtown with new venues of shopping, business and entertainment will bring downtown to life again. Fifty years from now, I suspect we will see little has changed!

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Jun-11-13 7:11 PM

I applaud the school board for their action. The soul of a great city lies in the heritage it preserves. Most cities today are rediscovering their central cores and renovating the majestic buildings there. Phillips Middle School has served Fort Dodge well since 1922, and many of its citizens obtained their education there either as a high school, junior high, and middle school. The architectural details are amazing, and we all know they don't build buildings with that quality and strength anymore. If Foutch Brothers does it right, a beautiful market rate residential building in the former Phillips will enhance the neighborhood and increase property values. A renovated Fair Oaks will provide much needed apartment space for seniors. By becoming classified as historic preservation sites, much needed funding can be obtained for completion of these projects. It is a win-win option for the city of Fort Dodge.

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Jun-11-13 4:38 PM

Nobody likes to see rent hikes including the landlords. FD tax too much. We are going to make mortgage payment(tax) even after we pay off the mortgage.

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Jun-11-13 10:29 AM

Selling of properties for a dollar is standard practice, Sharon. I'm more concerned with the bargain basement cost for the athletic facilities.

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Jun-11-13 10:27 AM

Giving up that kind of gym space and athletic facility for less than $400,000? District will regret that. Big time. Penny-wise and pound foolish. Giving up two auditoriums -- one which seats nearly 1,000 and is one of the most unique in the state -- and significant gym space for what will be available at the new middle school is narrow-minded and short-sighted thinking at its worst. Good luck supporting well over a thousand students with the "new and improved" facilities.

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Jun-11-13 10:27 AM

I wish FD would become a more forward thinking city. These two structures along with most of downtown buildings are over or approaching 100 years old! Urban renewal projects with the 21st century in mind would be my choice for Fort Dodge. Why is it so necessary to hold on to the old? I imagine the game plan one day for 100 year old Duncombe school is apartments too! It's time for Fort Dodge to change its pattern!

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Jun-11-13 10:26 AM

The district is broke and letting teachers go but they are aelling property for a dollar?

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Jun-11-13 3:16 AM

It could be Park Ave. nice and still be empty in FD if they ask $550/mo. for a studio or one bedroom. I still say apartments for Phillips, move the city hall into Fair Oaks and remodel the old city hall into downtown apartments.

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